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Life Before Photoshop: Fine Dining

Look ma, no Photoshop.

Look ma, no Photoshop.

Here’s another photo in my ongoing category to show those of my fellow photographers how it was when Adobe was a type of house prevalent in the Southwest. Both in my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, the vast majority of my students became interested in Photography after the demise of film and the cameras that shot it.

These same students think that computers with Photoshop, Lightroom, and all the available plug-ins downloaded into them are a necessary part of the new digital age. To some, it’s the only way to create photographs. While it’s true that Photoshop has been an important part of my photography, I can also tell you that you don’t need any of it to make memorable pictures.

On the first day of my classes, I tell people that for the duration of the course, whether it be the four weeks of my online class, or my one week workshops, they’re not allowed to use any post-processing of any kind. I can’t tell you how many people freaks out!!! “What? Are you kidding? No way I can do that”, just to mention the three most popular come-backs.

FYI, auto focus is a luxury, not a necessity. That really has them baffled.

The above photo was taken for a company that was building a mid-level highrise in Houston. Since the building hadn’t been built, they wanted to show what amenities there would be in the area for those that would live there. One of the ideas was to create a photo that suggested Fine Dining in the area.

I created this photo in the wine cellar of a well known restaurant in the area. With the bottles of wine in the background, I set up a table and arranged the wine glasses and tulips from edge to edge. That was the easy part. I wanted to show a hand coming into the frame lighting one of the candles. Trying to open the shutter and exposing for the table setting and then having the hand light the candle proved to be impossible. I just couldn’t get the flame to stand up and look delicate. Remember that this was before the days of Photoshop, where it would now be soooooooo easy to create it on the computer.

I finally figured out a way to make it work. I had the waiter hold his hand in position with an unlit match in it. I turned off the modeling light and fired the flash to record everything. While the shutter was still open, I placed a black card in front of the lens and lit the match with another one. Once the smoke cleared and just the flame was showing I removed the black card and exposed for the flame.

What you see here was shot on one piece of film and one exposure.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my new 2014 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. My first one so far is my “Springtime in Paris” workshop in May. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.


Let people know you saw it here!
    { 2 comments… add one }
    • Joe February 19, 2014, 1:07 pm

      Thanks for the look, I appreciate it.


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